Category Archives: Aviation

Private Jets Fill Air Show Void Left by Pentagon Cuts

Private Jets Fill Air Show Void Left by Pentagon Cuts

Former US Marine Lt. Col. Art Nall with his restored Sea Harrier. Since military teams have canceled air shows dates due to budget cuts, Nall has seen increased demand for struggling air shows.

Former US Marine Lt. Col. Art Nalls with his restored Sea Harrier. Since military teams have canceled air shows dates due to budget cuts, Nalls has seen increased demand from air shows.

Art Nalls—air show performer and the owner/operator of what maybe the only working civilian Harrier jump jet in the country—may be one of the few people benefitting from recent military budget cuts.

Those spending reductions have bumped the Pentagon’s professional aeronautics teams—the Navy’s Blue Angels and the Air Force’s Thunderbirds—off the air show circuit for the rest of the year, creating a demand for Nalls’ stubby-winged Sea Harrier to visit air shows: $35,000 for a 15-to-20 minute show.

“We’re turning away business,” the retired Marine aviator based in Washington, D.C. told USNI News on Monday.
“We shoot for six air shows. We got ten.” Read More

Work and Roughead Talk Fleet Protection

Work and Roughead Talk Fleet Protection

Ships from the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower from Carrier Strike Group. US Navy Photo

Ships from the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower from Carrier Strike Group in 2012. US Navy Photo

Electromagnetic rail guns, lasers and anti-torpedo torpedoes may be the key technologies necessary to ensure the continued viability of the U.S. Navy’s carrier strike groups when operating against an anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) environment, top former service officials told USNI News.

In the past few years the Pentagon has placed an emphasis on countering the challenges of A2/AD—a concept broadly defined as denying an assaulting force access to a battle space. In the maritime context, the traditional A2/AD tools have been mines and submarines. With the development of increasingly advanced and inexpensive antiship missiles, the calculus of an assaulting force has placed an emphasis having enough weapon capacity to counter threats. Read More

Crashed KC-135 Crew From Fairchild AFB

Crashed KC-135 Crew From Fairchild AFB

Capt. Mark Voss, Tech Sgt. Herman Mackey III and Capt. Victoria A. Pinckney were killed when their KC-135 went down in Kyrgyzstan on Friday.

Capt. Mark Voss, Tech Sgt. Herman Mackey III and Capt. Victoria A. Pinckney were killed when their KC-135 went down in Kyrgyzstan on Friday.

The Air Force has identified three crewmembers of a KC-135 refueling tanker that crashed Friday in Kyrgyzstan, according to a Sunday Pentagon release. Read More

Photos Show Downed Tanker Was From Kansas Unit

Photos Show Downed Tanker Was From Kansas Unit

A picture from the crash site in Kyrgyzstan of a KC-135. kloop.kg Photo

A picture from the crash site in Kyrgyzstan of a KC-135. kloop.kg Photo

Remains of the KC-135 that crashed Friday in Kyrgyzstan appear to be from an aircraft based at McConnell Air Force Base, Kan. as part of the 22nd Air Refueling Wing.

An Associated Press photograph from the scene show a vertical stabilizer from the crashed aircraft. Along the top ridge the letters “onnell,” can be read in block letters. A separate photograph shows a tail number of, “AMC 38877.” Read More

Air Force Tanker Crashes in Kyrgyzstan, Crew Status 'Unknown'

Air Force Tanker Crashes in Kyrgyzstan, Crew Status ‘Unknown’

A U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-16 Fighting Falcon over the Pacific Ocean in 2012. US Air Force Photo

A U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-16 Fighting Falcon over the Pacific Ocean in 2012. US Air Force Photo

An U.S. Air Force refueling tanker has crashed in the northern region of Kyrgyzstan has crashed, according to a Friday release from the Pentagon.

The KC-135 Stratotanker went down about 100 miles west of the U.S. Transit Center at Manas, a U.S. installation that has supported the U.S. air war in Afghanistan since 2001. Read More

Document: U.N. Report Calling For Moratoria on Lethal Robots

Document: U.N. Report Calling For Moratoria on Lethal Robots

From the summary of the U.N. Report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial,summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns. The report calls for a suspension of lethal robotic technology until international rules can be drafted:

Lethal autonomous robotics (LARs) are weapon systems that, once activated, can select and engage targets without further human intervention. They raise far-reaching concerns about the protection of life during war and peace. This includes the question of the extent to which they can be programmed to comply with the requirements of international humanitarian law and the standards protecting life under international human rights law. Read More

U.N. Report Singles Out Two Navy Weapons Programs

U.N. Report Singles Out Two Navy Weapons Programs

An X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator aircraft is transported on an aircraft elevator aboard the aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman (CVN-75). US Navy Photo

An X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator aircraft is transported on an aircraft elevator aboard the aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman (CVN-75). US Navy Photo

An April U.N. report calling for suspending the use deadly robotic weapon systems singled out two Navy systems, the Phalanx ship protection weapon system and the Navy’s test platform for carrier-based unmanned vehicles as part of a report recommending an international moratoria on so-called “lethal autonomous robotics.”

Report author Christof Heyns, a human rights professor at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, mentioned the Phalanx and the Unmanned Combat Air System Aircraft Carrier Demonstration (UCAS-D) X-47B as examples of weapon systems with at least some degree of autonomous operation. Read More

New Hybrid UAV and Helo Squadron Stands Up

New Hybrid UAV and Helo Squadron Stands Up

MQ-8B Fire Scout on the flight line at Naval Air Station (NAS) North Island, Calif in 2011. US Navy Photo

MQ-8B Fire Scout on the flight line at Naval Air Station (NAS) North Island, Calif in 2011. US Navy Photo

The Navy’s first aviation squadron that combines unmanned aerial vehicles and manned helicopters stoop up on Thursday at Naval Air Station North Island, Calif., according to a release from U.S. Naval Air Forces. Read More

NAVSEA's McCoy Speaks

NAVSEA’s McCoy Speaks

Commander Naval Sea Systems Command, Vice Adm. Kevin McCoy in 2008. US Navy Photo

Commander Naval Sea Systems Command, Vice Adm. Kevin McCoy in 2008. US Navy Photo

Vice Adm. Kevin McCoy, commander of Naval Sea Systems Command has a rare interview in the latest issue of Proceedings.

While at the helm of NAVSEA for an unprecedented five years McCoy was mostly media shy while he was a driving force to realign years of damage to the way the Navy fixed its surface ships. Read More

Report: Lasers on U.S. Navy Ships

Report: Lasers on U.S. Navy Ships

The following is from the introduction to the Congressional Research Service’s April, 24 2013 report: Navy Shipboard Lasers for Surface, Air, and Missile Defense: Background and Issues for Congress.

Department of Defense (DOD) development work on high-energy military lasers, which has been underway for decades, has reached the point where lasers capable of countering certain surface and air targets at ranges of about a mile could be made ready for installation on Navy surface ships over the next few years. More powerful shipboard lasers, which could become ready for installation in subsequent years, could provide Navy surface ships with an ability to counter a wider range of surface and air targets at ranges of up to about 10 miles. These more powerful lasers might, among other things, provide Navy surface ships with a terminal-defense capability against certain ballistic missiles, including China’s new anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM). Read More